Spring temps bring zebra mussel 'explosion' in Lake Travis

A local dive team says the population of zebra mussels in Lake Travis has exploded. (CBS Austin)

A local dive team says the population of zebra mussels in Lake Travis has exploded.

In all of 2017, local dive company Chapman Marine only found one adult zebra mussel in Lake Travis. In 2018, that same company is starting to see zebra mussels all the time.

“As the weather got warmer, it’s just an explosion, we started seeing them everywhere,” co-owner of Chapman Marine Philip Wolfe said.

Wolfe said zebra mussels like warmer temperatures and have grown over the past couple months. His divers have found them on boats, the styrofoam on dock barges, and on shorelines.

His company inspects anything underwater in Lake Travis for zebra mussels. Then they can clean them off. He says they’re booked solid for two weeks.

Most of that work is from municipalities looking to keep water intake pipes clear. They have gotten some calls from private boat owners, but he says most people don’t know about the issue yet.

“Throughout the summer I think they’re going to see, especially if you leave your motor in the water, you’re going to have zebra mussels,” Wolfe said.

Diver Sebastian Page said he remembers not seeing much of any zebra mussels in 2017. “It was like, oh, you see one and now you can see them every where,” Page said.

He said the zebra mussels can damage the metal on boats, and they can damage engine propellers.

He said the Lake Travis Marina is where he’s seen the most zebra mussels, but he said it’s only going to spread throughout the lake.

“It’ll just keep growing, there’s no stopping them,” Page said.

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